Seaford native dies after being hit by car
Pedestrian deaths are at all-time high

By Lynn R. Parks

At the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children where she worked in the cancer ward, Cecily Whitt was once asked how she disguised her wings, said Cecily's mother Carolyn Whitt, Seaford. "They thought she was an angel," Whitt said. "Another time, she heard one child tell another that if you got really sick, you could go to this place and a really nice nurse named 'Celery' would take real good care of you." Cecily Whitt, 33, a pediatric oncology nurse, died last week after being struck by a car while jogging the day before. The Seaford native is the second jogger to be killed in Delaware in two months. Sarah Dykstra, a Laurel veterinarian, was killed Aug. 13 while jogging near her home on Delaware 20 east of Seaford. According to state police, Dykstra was struck by a sport utility vehicle being driven by Georgetown police officer Bradley Cordrey. Cordrey, who was off-duty at the time, was charged Aug. 23 with operation of a motor vehicle causing death of another person. Cordrey is scheduled for a case review Dec. 6 and, if no resolution is reached in that review, trial on Dec. 12. Police said that Whitt, of Brandywine Hundred, was running near the intersection of Naamans Road and Darley Road when she was struck by a 2000 Ford Taurus driven by Karen Zellis, 50, of Boothwyn, Pa. Delaware State Police are still investigating the incident. Her death raised the number of pedestrians killed on Delaware roads this month to 24, 17 more than it was this time last year. Carolyn Whitt said that her daughter ran every day. Cecily recently ran in a half-marathon in Philadelphia and "did very well for her age group."

"I am absolutely astounded that the state of Delaware has not made an effort to put sidewalks along every road in Delaware," Whitt added. "I see paths in other places; what's wrong with Delaware?" Cecily Whitt grew up in the family home on Pennsylvania Avenue. She graduated from Seaford High School in 1992 and earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Charleston in Charleston, W.Va. Whitt said that her daughter became interested in pediatric nursing and in the A.I. duPont Hospital in particular when her younger brother, Jonathan, broke his leg and had to be treated at the institution. "It really made a big impact on her," Whitt said. Cecily played the flute, had three cats that she had rescued and loved working with children, her mother said. "Cecily was always very kind, full of energy and very helpful," she added. "She had an iron backbone and never gave up, never quit, even though she was teeny-tiny." "She was always so perky," fellow nurse Kathleen Soper wrote in a condolence note to Carolyn Whitt. "She always saw the bright side of everything and was always a good friend." Services were held Saturday at Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church, Seaford. "There were so many people there, I don't think there was room to sit down," Carolyn Whitt said. "The outpouring of sympathy from the community has been phenomenal." A memorial service will be held at the A. I. duPont Hospital for Children Monday at 6 p.m. Cecily's family requests that donations in her memory be sent to the A. I. DuPont Hospital for Children, 3 C North, 1600 Rockland Rd., Wilmington, DE 19899, attention Peter March; or Whimsical Animal Rescue, PO Box 1697, Seaford.

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